Gabby Friedman will represent BC Children’s Hospital Foundation on May 3, 2018 as the Jeans Day Champion Child (Photo by Stacey Friedman)

Richmond teen to represent BC Children’s Hospital for Jeans Day

Gabby will be jeaning up on May 3 at Vancouver Art Gallery

It is difficult to imagine that Gabby Friedman spent the first three years of her life in and out of BC Children’s Hospital.

The 15-year-old is in Grade 9 in Richmond and loves staying active.

“I like to play a lot of sports, art, draw and paint,” she says with a bright smile. “My main sport would be soccer, I just love soccer.”

When she was just over a year old, Gabby underwent her first surgery to control persistent ear infections and remove her adenoids, which are glands in the mouth.

Two months later, she began suffering from seizures and high fever. Doctors found she had a low white blood cell count and her platelets were non-existent, but couldn’t figure out why.

Shortly before her second birthday, Gabby’s parents returned to the emergency department at BC Children’s Hospital and were told that her major organs were shutting down.

Gabby’s mother, Stacey Friedman, said the staff wanted to discharge them with an unknown diagnosis.

“I steadfastly refused to leave the hospital,” Friedman said. “You are not discharging her until you can figure out what is wrong with her.”

Gabby was ultimately diagnosed with portal vein thrombosis and portal hypertension, a rare condition caused by a clot in the portal vein, which carries blood to the liver.

Gabby’s condition left her in a state of constant insecurity of severe internal bleeding. Every 90 days, she required surgery to put bands around her veins.

In 2005, the girl received the Rex Shunt procedure at SickKids Hospital in Toronto, which changed her life. Her liver and spleen repaired within the year and she was able to grow physically and developmentally.

“I guess I knew I was there for a reason and to just stay happy and let the doctors do what they need to do,” Gabby said. “Because in a way, I knew I was sick, even though I was really young.”

Said her mother of the ordeal the family faced for so many years: “Honestly, I don’t think you think about it. You just power through it. You just do what you have to do.”

Gabby is a 2018 Jeans Day Ambassador on behalf of the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Jeans Day event on May 3.

Since its inauguration in 1990, Jeans Day has raised more than $21 million for the hospital.

Individuals, families and corporations are encouraged to wear Jeans Day buttons along with denim clothing.

The annual public Jeans Day BBQ will be held at the Vancouver Art Gallery between 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Vancouver Canucks alumni Daniel and Henrik Sedin, as well as other athletes and team mascots, are major Jeans Day supporters.

“When you go through something like a sickness, you are not alone because there is your community near you and your community will help you and raise you,” said Gabby.


@kieranroconnor
kieran.oconnor@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

PHOTO GALLERY: Malicious Monster Truck Tour

The Malicious Monster Truck Tour sold out to crowds of 2,500 people… Continue reading

North Coast fishing grounds key to orca recovery: DFO

Plan marks waters from Langara to Rose Spit as critical habitat for northern resident killer whales

Chris Green, mother of scouts, passes away

Green, who was born near Kitimat, spent more than 60 years volunteering with Scouts Canada

Intertidal Music Festival back for round two

More than 20 performances throughout the day at the North Pacific Cannery on July 21

Alberta man missing on Kitimat River found dead

Body found on July 11 after going missing on July 7

BC Games’ Athletes Corner: What’s your favourite pump up song?

Check out what’s playing in the earbuds of BC Summer Games athletes before they compete

BC Wildfire update on Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

UPDATED: Evacuation alert issued due to Dog Creek Trail Wildfire

UPDATED: The Dog Creek wildfire has grown substantially over the past two… Continue reading

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

VIDEO: Near drowning captured on popular B.C. river

Search and Rescue manager says the popular pastime of floating in the summer is inherently dangerous

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

UPDATED: Anti-pipeline campers digging in as eviction deadline expires

The City of Burnaby had ordered the Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters out for violating bylaws

Trump was taped talking of paying Playboy model: AP source

Source says former personal lawyer Michael Cohen secretly recorded discussion prior to 2016 election

Most Read